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8 iconic animal actors

By: Matt Hickman on Sept. 11, 2013, 5:50 p.m.
Crystal the monkey arrives on the red carpet for the premiere of the film, 'The Hangover Part II.'

Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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Hollywood’s go-to capuchin, 20-year-old Crystal, has demonstrated remarkable range over her short but prolific career: She’s played a drug dealer (“The Hangover Part 2”), a medical doctor (“Animal Practice”), a drunk (“Dr. Doolittle”), an unhinged personal assistant (“Malcolm in the Middle”) and the primate embodiment of Adam Sandler (“Zookeeper.”) And in 2012, she was one of television’s highest paid actors, diaper-wearing or not, commanding a cool $12,000 per episode for her roll as Dr. Rizzo in the (mercifully) now-cancelled sitcom “Animal Practice.” Funny, we figured as a monkey that she’d receive compensation in bananas, hugs and kisses.

From the impish/terrorizing persona she takes on for many of her roles, you’d think that Crystal would be an on-set diva with an inflated ego. Nah. Apparently, this well-trained ham is simply a delight to work with. Says Ken Jeong, her “Hangover Part 2” co-star: “She’s amazing. She’s not a monkey, she’s an actor. And quite possibly the best actor I’ve worked with.”

When not rehearsing, doing back flips on the red carpet or evoking the ire of PETA (and no, she doesn’t really smoke), Crystal lives a quiet life in a Los Angeles home that she shares with handler/trainer Tom Gunderson, his family and a menagerie of other showbiz-savvy critters.